The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) transferred an initial P20 million fund to two of its partner lending conduits in Ilocos Norte for the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) Program.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar and ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola led the ceremonial turnover of checks worth P10 million each to the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC) and the Ilocos Consolidated Cooperative Bank (ICCB) on February 28, 2020 in the said province.
The KAYA program offers loans to finance working capital and/or fixed asset acquisition requirements of start-up or existing agri-based projects of young entrepreneurs and agri-fishery graduates.
“Kung may idea sila at gusto nilang mag-negosyo, ay bibigyan ang isang young agripreneur ng hanggang P500,000 loan, zero interest, payable in five years,” Secretary Dar said. “Para mahikayat natin ang mga kabataan to go back to agribusiness,” he added.
As capacity building component under the program, the ACPC will engage state universities and colleges, government agencies, and business development service providers to provide mentoring, business planning, marketing, product packaging support to young agripreneurs.
For Ilocos Norte, the ACPC has partnered with the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) which will provide said technical assistance and identify and endorse eligible borrowers.
“We have already scheduled the roll out of KAYA program in various provinces,” said ED Badiola. “We are also currently conducting business planning workshops for potential borrowers,” she added.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa DA at ACPC sa muling pagtitiwala sa aming kooperatiba bilang lending conduit para sa KAYA Loan Program. Asahan ninyo ang aming tulong na makabalik muli ang mga kabataan sa sektor ng agrikultura at magkaroon ng panimulang negosyo,” said NSCC Chief Operations Officer Guadalupe Gorospe.
The ceremonial turnover of credit fund for the KAYA program coincided with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement creating the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fishery Extension System (INAFES), which aims to strengthen and synergize the provincial and municipal extension systems of the province by engaging a pool of professionals who will provide technical and business advisory services to farming and fishing communities, and other related sectors.
According to Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay, the KAYA Program will benefit from the INAFES as it will also provide capacity building to the youth especially on agribusiness entrepreneurship.
“Napaka-ganda ng KAYA Program dahil inihahanda natin ang mga kabataan sa pagne-negosyo. It’s about time to focus on the youth. Dapat bigyan natin sila ng kaukulang training at puhunan para mahalin nila ang agriculture at business,” said PA Lagmay.
“Sa KAYA, mabibigyan ng maraming oportunidad na magsagawa ng iba’t ibang proyekto ang aming organisasyon tulad na lamang ng agri-tourism,” said 4-H Club Ilocos Norte President Jermain Sebastian.
Aside from the MOA signing and check turnover, the DA also led the distribution of cash assistance amounting to P9.9 million out of the P99M fund under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program that benefitted 19,927 farmers from Batac City, Dingras, San Nicolas, Sarrat, Paoay, and Piddig. The RFFA provides each rice farmer tilling half to two hectares of farmland with unconditional P5,000 cash assistance.
Present during the event were Senator Imee Marcos, Governor Matthew Marcos-Manotoc, Regional Executive Director Lucrecia Alviar, Jr., officials from DA attached agencies and bureaus, representatives from the LGU and academe, and some 1,900 Ilokano farmers.